If Everyone Is OK, Say That First 

Photo: Ehimetalor Unuabona, Unsplash

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a phone call that starts out with something like, “So-and-so (person you love) has been in an accident,” followed by a winding and twisting tale that eventually ends with, “But they’re ok,” you know the importance of leading with the good news.

Reddit user u/lukehooligan suggests that if you know everything is ok, that’s the best place to begin the conversation:

Starting with just telling them they were in an accident leaves a couple of seconds of doubt that they might have died.

If you call to tell me that my son has fallen off the playground equipment during recess, tell me first that he’s all right and second that he fell.

Maybe you had a health scare but recently learned that it was, in fact, just a scare and you’re perfectly fine. Lead with the “perfectly fine” part when you’re later recounting the story to your mother.

There was a fire? Not good. But everyone got out safely? Say that first.

Because while you may know that everything turned out ok, the person on the other end of the news is very likely imagining every worse case scenario possible.

Of course, sometimes the outcome isn’t good, and we’ve got advice for how to handle that. But if the news isn’t all bad? Start with that most important detail, and go from there.


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